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You probably have some idea when you walk in the door at Costco what purchases are the best for your health. But since it’s American Heart Month, do you know what’s best for your ticker specifically? If your answer is no, don’t worry, you’re not alone in this. That’s why we spoke with nutrition experts to get insight on what foods are best for heart health — specifically at Costco.
A heart-healthy diet is one that’s rich in fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains. It’s a matter of watching your fat intake and keeping sodium to recommended levels. Costco has so many bulk-sized heart-healthy options to choose from, which means your shopping cart and your pantry are about to be chock-full of the good stuff. Check out our recommendations ahead. (And for more, here are 6 Things You’ll See at Costco This Year.)
The beauty of these fruit bars is that there’s practically nothing to them—they’re literally just fruit!
“The That’s It Mini Fruit bars are made with one ingredient—fruit—so are an easy way to help meet your recommended 1.5-2.5 cup servings per day without worrying about fresh fruit going bad on your counter or in the fridge,” says Mia Syn, MS, RDN. “Fruit is a heart-healthy food because it’s naturally fat free, a good source of fiber, and nutrient dense. Fiber not only aids weight management, which is important for heart health, but research suggests it may help lower both blood pressure and cholesterol as well.”
What makes them even better? A bag of 24 mini bars is on sale right now for $4 off.
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Keeping fruit handy at all times is a great way to keep your heart health in mind. Considering fresh fruit isn’t always attainable, the frozen option works too.
“If you have the freezer space, pick up the Kirkland Signature 3 Berry Blend and toss the mix of raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries in smoothies, use them as a topping for whole-grain cereal, or just thaw and enjoy on their own,” says Nicole Rodriguez, RDN, NASM-CPT.
Let’s be real, who doesn’t love a pickle? This crunchy snack at Costco is a great way to get vegetables into your day, which are very important for your heart. Plus, pickles tend to be tastier than just a plain vegetable, and you don’t have to worry about the salt content despite all the flavor.
“While some may be concerned about the sodium content, it is beneficial to know that Grillo’s contains 200 mg of sodium (9% DV) per serving, which is lower than other leading pickle brands and packaged snacks like chips and crackers,” Syn says. “The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day for heart health with an ideal limit of 1,500 mg per day for those with high blood pressure.”
For a heart-healthy snack, head to the popcorn aisle. Costco has plenty to choose from, but you can’t go wrong with the regular old 8-pound jug of Orville Redenbacher for $11.49 (just steer clear of ones that are loaded with butter).
“When you think of whole grains for a heart-healthy diet, of course there’s the age-old advice of choosing items such as brown rice, quinoa, farro, and sorghum and swapping out white bread for whole wheat,” Rodriguez says. “But what about popcorn? One label serving of kernels (pop them, please) is an excellent source of fiber. Grab the economy size of Orville Redenbacher and enjoy for movie nights for weeks to come.”
If you want to have grab-and-go snacks available at all times to get a boost of nutrients for the heart, a box of Kind Bars from Costco is a great choice.
“Kind Bars are a convenient heart-friendly snack made with a base of nuts, which are a cardioprotective food and source of good fats,” Syn says. “Research suggests that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. Not only that, but the bars offer 6 grams of filling fiber and come in unique chocolatey flavors to satisfy sweet cravings with only 5 grams of sugar.”
This box of 20 is at Costco and online for around $20.
Having a staple olive oil to cook with is important for many meals, but also for your heart. Kirkland’s signature EVOO deserves a place of honor in your cupboards to be used with almost any meal.
Rodriguez is a huge fan of olive oil, because it’s “rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, and can help reduce levels of LDL cholesterol (the bad kind!) while maintaining HDL levels (the good stuff).”
While many olive oils will be just as beneficial as the rest, Kirkland’s is a little easier on your wallet (it’s $13.49 for 2 liters), and we can’t argue with that.
For more picks, here’s what items you should buy that are currently on sale at Costco, dietitians say.
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